Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Perhaps Democrat Superdelegates Should Reconsider and Nominate Hillary?

Governor Steve Beshear and other Democratic superdelegates have to be wondering whether they will be voting for another presidential candidate disaster when they select Senator Barack Obama to be their nominee next week. According to a Reuters/Zogby poll released today, Senator John McCain now leads Obama by five percentage points -- at a point in the presidential election year when, thanks to media bias, the Democratic candidate typically has a double digit lead over his Republican counterpart (for those old enough to remember, recall that 20 point lead Michael Dukakis had over George H.W. Bush at the end of the summer of 1988 before the helmeted tank photo-op fiasco). According to Reuters:

McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41 percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.
. . . .
McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy -- an issue nearly half of voters said was their top concern in the November 4 presidential election.
. . . .

Heck, McCain's even gaining ground among those who were toddlers when Dukakis imploded:

Obama's support among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, which had been one of his strengths, slipped 12 percentage points to 52 percent. McCain, who will turn 72 next week, was winning 40 percent of younger voters.

And, unlike in 1992, when Ross Perot's third-party candidacy doomed Bush I's reelection bid, the third-party candidates, when factored in the poll, do not erase McCain's lead:

McCain still held a 5-point edge over Obama, 44 percent to 39 percent, when all four names were included. [Libertarian Party candidate Bob] Barr earned 3 percent and [independent Ralph] Nader 2 percent.

And here's another significant development: McCain now leads Obama in RealClearPolitics.com's current projected Electoral College outcome, with 274 votes to Obama's 264. It takes 270 to win.

These numbers confirm what Senator Hillary Clinton said would happen once Obama had to face the Republican candidate. This is going to be a fun election after all.

Update: Susan Estrich, who was Dukakis's campaign manager, provides her analysis of the latest poll numbers here. Regarding Dukakis's demise, she writes:

By the summer of 1988, the country had turned from believing we were on the wrong track to thinking we were on the right track. They thought my candidate, Governor Dukakis, was more conservative than he actually was -- that's what beating Jesse Jackson every Tuesday will do for you.

By the fall, it was clear: right or wrong, they didn't like him. Of course, you never say that to the candidate; you tell him "they don't know you," not that "they don't like you." You say it's a communications problem, which is why being the communications director is the hot seat in a losing campaign.

It will be fascinating twenty years from now to read what the Obamites write to explain why their man lost.

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